Thank you, Jesus
By Glen Doss, Major –
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift (2 Cor. 9:15 NIV).
The marvel of God’s gift to the world, Immanuel (Matt.1:23)—God with us—defies description. Think of it! The mighty fists that had tossed worlds into space became the tiny hands of an infant. The voice that had spoken earth into existence, “Let there be light,” and awed the great prophet Moses, “You are standing on Holy Ground,” was for the first time heard through human vocal chords. And how wonderful it is that God’s gift to the world 2,000 years ago is still his gift to his followers. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
Can you recall what it was like when you did not have Jesus in your life? When you were yet a Godless person? Caught up in the busyness of our day-to-day lives, I think we sometimes forget how miserable many of us used to be when we were depending on our own strength, knowing nowhere else to turn. In our mindset at the time God did not exist for us.
And perhaps we also forget that there are people who do not believe in a God at all. I know this, for I was once one of them. Such a person really believes everything depends solely upon himself. Reflecting back, I realize that I saw my own god looking back at me from the mirror every morning.
And what is it like when that tin god is broken and can help you no longer? I know that, too. It led me ultimately to confinement to a psychiatric ward where I lay tormented by my deadly compulsions and screams from other tortured ward residents.
Yet I know equally the jubilation that accompanies salvation, when you discover there is a God in the world, a savior who loves you dearly and has come to set you free from enslavement to self. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (2 Cor. 5:15).
When rescued from such a tragic state of existence, it is natural to want to give back, to say “thank you” in some way to our savior for setting us free.
So how do you thank God for this gift so great it defies description? How do we give a gift in return to someone who already has everything? As the old spiritual puts it: “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” However, in looking into it, we find there is one thing God does not already have: He allows each of us to retain our right to ourselves. Surrendering ourselves wholly to him is the one thing we can give to him. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you (Rom. 12:1). And giving ourselves in service to others is a powerful way to put this principle into motion.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’” (Matt. 25: 34-36 NIV).
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matt. 25:40 NIV).
It is an epiphany that can set our hearts dancing, as we understand that we should give our thanks offering to God by helping hurting people. As we put our faith to work in ministry, it is strengthened.
Then, as we help others, we can say, “Thank you, Jesus.”